TV Reviews: ‘NewsRadio’

Dennis suggests ‘NewsRadio’ (in Comedy). Regan’s been playing this in the store pretty much non-stop for the last week and every time I see it, I smack myself around for forgetting how much I love it. (Sure, that may seem harsh, but you can’t let me get away with things). How much do I love it? I bought the first two seasons after work on Sunday. I’m watching it right now as I write this. And I’m getting very distracted and am not doing a very good job writing this. At all. Now, ‘The Office’ has deservedly set the standard for workplace comedies as improv-y single camera dramedies, but NewsRadio reminds us how a tightly-written, snappy sitcom filled with a constant zany buzz and an office full of razor-sharp comic actors can be of equal joy. There’s the Kids in the Hall ‘s Dave Foley as the quick-witted but beleaguered boss, Maura Tierney (wasted in her role as the long-suffering sad lady on E.R.), who proves again how sexy and funny go together real well, Stephen Root, who’s the comedic equal of ‘30 Rock’’s Jack Donaghy as the unpredictably eccentric station head Jimmy James, and even the in-real-life loathsome human beings Joe Rogan and Andy Dick are spot-on hilarious. And then, of course, there’s the maestro. Phil Hartman. As the velvet-voiced, unparallelledly egocentric on-air anchor Bill McNeal, big Phil creates one of the greatest comedic foils ever. My choice for the funniest episode goes to season 3, episode 14 ‘Complaint Box’ (in which the titular item causes comic chaos and Mr. James, on a fishing trip, continues to listen in on the doin’s via a portable device); an episode like this shows just how high a great writing staff and a stable of brilliant comic actors can elevate the tired sitcom idea). I guess you should skip season 5, which ill-advisedly carried on after Phil died, but even then, there were above-average yuks.

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Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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